The Handmaid’s Tale is an American dystopian tragedy television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The series was ordered by the streaming service Hulu as a straight-to-series order of 10 episodes, for which production began in late 2016. The plot features a dystopia following a Second American Civil War wherein a totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called “Handmaids”, to child-bearing slavery.
The first three episodes of the series premiered on April 26, 2017; the subsequent seven episodes were released every Wednesday. In July 2019, the series was renewed for a fourth season, which is scheduled to premiere on April 28, 2021 In September 2019, it was announced that Hulu and MGM were developing a sequel series, to be based on Atwood’s 2019 novel The Testaments. In December 2020, ahead of the fourth season premiere, the series was renewed for a fifth season
In a world where fertility rates have collapsed as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution, the totalitarian, theonomic government of Gilead establishes rule in the former United States in the aftermath of a civil war. Society is organized by power-hungry leaders along with a new, militarized, hierarchical regime of fanaticism and newly created social classes, in which women are brutally subjugated. By law, women in Gilead are forced to work in very limited roles, including some as natal slaves, and they are not allowed to own property, handle money, or read.
World infertility has led to the enslavement of fertile women in Gilead determined by the new regime to be “fallen women”, citing an extremist interpretation of the Biblical account of Bilhah; these women often include those who have entered multiple marriages (termed “adulteresses”), single or unmarried mothers, lesbians (homosexuals being termed “gender traitors”), non-Christians, adherents of Christian denominations other than the Sons of Jacob, political dissidents and academics. These women, called Handmaids, are assigned to the homes of the ruling elite, where they must submit to ritualized rape (referred to as “the ceremony”) by their male masters (“Commanders”) in the presence of their wives, to be impregnated and bear children for them. Handmaids are given names created by the addition of the prefix Of- to the first name of the man who has them. When they are transferred, their names are changed.
The Handmaid’s Tale
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